A Multitude of Immigrants


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From The New-York Daily Tribune, dated July 24, 1903:



Devious Means of Entry--Contract Labor Laughed At.


Washington, July 23.--As a result of the Kishineff race riots and massacres, the United States is to receive a large consignment of very undesirable Hebrew immigrants from that city. This statement has just been received by Commissioner General Sargent of the Immigration Bureau, from Marcus Braun, confidential agent of the service in Europe. Mr. Braun has recently visited Kishineff.

"While the majority of the victims of the race riots I do not consider undesirable," he writes, "I notice that there are any number of paupers who want to profit by the occasion and get their passage paid by the local committee, which is distributing the funds collected all over the world."

Mr. Braun says that of those who would be desirable acquisitions to the population of this country, few contemplate leaving Russia. Mr. Braun gathered his information in part from a wealthy Hebrew of Kishineff, a member of the relief committee, who said that the committee had under advisement a plan to send a large number of families here by the way of Copenhagen. When his attention was called to the fact that according to the United States immigration laws, assisted immigrants were not admissible here, the committeeman said that he should leave that matter to the Jewish Colonization Association and the B'nai B'rith in the United States.

In Rumania, Mr. Braun finds that there is a regular shipment of about three hundred Jews a week to this country. Some of them come by the way of Canada, but the bulk are shipped through Rotterdam. These immigrants, he says, are also in charge of Jewish societies. He was told, however, that a great many of them were not assisted financially, but only asked and received the moral support of the Jewish societies to avoid trouble with the authorities of the countries which they passed.


While traveling in Russia, Mr. Braun says he visited many centres from whence the United States gets a large Hebrew immigration, "and from personal interviews with a great number of these would-be emigrants," he writes, "I found them to be absolutely of the undesirable class. But by the time they arrive at some United States port, I am afraid they are well instructed and purified."

Writing from Jassy, Rumania, Mr. Braun says that in a steamship immigration bureau he talked with an employee who "bluntly answered my question as to why they book so many emigrants for the United States by way of Canada as follows: "You see, there are two reasons--in the first place the control of Canadian ports is not so strict, and, second, it is about 20 rubles cheaper."

"At my further questioning as to why they fear the control which is established at the ports of the United States, he said that in many instances an emigrating family had one or two members suffering from trachoma, and on account of that the whole family was sent back. "It is true," he further said, "that the Canadian authorities refuse also trachomatic immigrants, but they are not so strict about it when they find that the immigrant in question goes to the United States."

"I asked whether he was aware that the inspection at the Canadian border was just as strict as at any seaport of the United States, and he told me he was, but that these immigrants, having in most cases relatives in the United States, were instructed by them to stay in some place in Canada until they called for them, and that these instructions were carried out in every case."


Additional information as to the methods employed to avoid the contract labor laws is reported by Mr. Braun in Vienna. He says that information gathered by him there is to effect that our contract labor laws are laughed at. Intended immigrants are put through such a thorough course of instruction that they are able to meet all the questions asked. For instance, the business of supplying stave cutters for the Tennessee woods is carried on extensively. These contract laborers are sent to Newport News or Galveston, and from three to Tennessee by rail. He also reports discovering a large traffic in the United States passports and citizens' papers at Flume.

Writing from Paris, July 10, Mr. Braun reports the city of Cheasso as a most important rendezvous for intended immigrants to the United States from the South of France, Italy, Greece and Turkey. He declares that 25 per cent of the undesirable immigration could be curtailed if all the little "tricks and crooked practices" of the immigration agents were known. He reports the conviction of one of the agents, who was fined 20,000 francs. One of the charges against this agent was that he cheated the Italian government out of many passports at 8.60 francs each.

A favorite route to inject undesirable immigrants into the United States, according to Mr. Braun, is to send them to Mexico and then get them over the border into Texas at some place off the railroad. Mr. Braun is still continuing his investigation, and furnishing the names and offenses of many steamship companies, as well as agents of these companies.




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